This is it! The big day where Steve plays his brand new song for Shawn.

It looks like Steve nailed it in his first draft of the song. Almost. While Shawn is moved by his first listen, Steve still needs to write the bridge. Shawn’s later reaction to the bridge changes everything.

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Steve Tells the Story

Long before Shawn showed up at my house, I was nervous. I’m worried that Shawn’s standards are way high. He sings classic ballads, songs from popular musicals… I was genuinely worried about how my song would stack up.

Hold the Reins

Here are the lyrics to the song I wrote for Shawn. As you’ll see, things didn’t go as planned:

Flying just off the ground
Terrifying and amazing
Running cause we love to run
All of My heart in each motion
Thunder and hunger

Hold the reins and I’ll lift you up
And take you far
From the pain and the hurt you’re feeling
Heaven is here just the two of us
Just be strong
And fly to freedom freedom freedom

I see blood on your brow
Mix it in with your makeup
Paint it all around your eyes
Look just how strong I got on my own
Yet I couldn’t save you


Legit Almost Cried

The first session went really well. One lyric especially touched Shawn:

See how strong I got on my own
Yet I couldn’t save you

“Legit almost cried” those words rang true, and that means I did my job. He got goose bumps.

The Bridge

A bridge in a song generally does one of two things:

  1. Reinforce the overall message of the song
  2. Ask “If only…”

The first is pretty obvious. The second means saying “if only you were faithful,” “if only things were different,” “If only I had one more chance.”

In the case of Shawn’s song, the “If only” moment is the Missed me, missed me moment. Essentially the song is saying “if only there could have been more moments like this one”, moments where his Mom would be kind and affectionate, show him, real love.

The bad news

To be honest, the song I wrote him didn’t really resonate with me. I thought there were some interesting moments, but it really didn’t click. I didn’t feel like made magic.


The bridge was a different story. I was biking home from my cafe when most of it came to me in a very quick moment. Finally I felt like I had something. I couldn’t wait to get it down and play it for Shawn.

Like the first version of the song, I wanted to be in the room when he heard it.

So I booked my friend Dan’s studio, Pet Shop Productions, and performed it for him on guitar.

The result speaks for itself. Finally I felt like I did my job as a songwriter.

What Now?

So the rest of the song is really not at the height of the new bridge. So I’ll make the new bridge the chorus, and write the song around it. Finally, I feel like this is moving forward.

For the song to be good, I Shawn didn’t have to be moved to tears by music. But this is a tough job, and I wanted his endorsement and approval. And this is about as good as it gets.

Discover Other Great Singers

Check out our other signers. Everyday real people who share their unique stories about overcoming pain and abuse and learning to thrive. Watch as Steve captures their unique stories with real songs about their lives.

What is Toronto Song Project?

Toronto Song Project is a Web Series where Steve searches the city for Real People with Real Stories, then writes them a real song based on their life events.

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